LD 20: The Holy Spirit, the Author of Assurance
by Prof Herman Hanko
Read: Romans 8:1-17
The teacher who leads us to learn all these lessons we have to learn to know our only comfort wants to be sure that they are lessons in the truth that lead us to make the truth of Scripture our very own; for if they did not lead us to make these truths our very own, we still would not have comfort.
It is possible to read the Scriptures that tell us about the suffering and death of Christ and to conclude: Yes, there was once a man who was also God, who died on the cross in order to pay for the sins of some people whom God gave to him. But I have no idea whether or not I am one of those people.
That kind of speech may sound strange to you, but there are many people in the church, even in so-called Reformed Churches, who believe this very thing. They claim to believe in everything Scripture teaches as being factual, but they claim also that they do not know whether that truth of Scripture is true for them. In fact, they rather doubt that it is meant for them. They are born with this doubt; they live all their lives with this doubt; and they die without ever knowing whether they are or are not a true child of God.
This is a terrible way to live; and, as a matter of fact, it is sinful to live this way. God’s people may not doubt. They would be like an orphan, made a part of the family, showered with all the love all the children receive, given the same food, drink, place to study and sleep and gifts that all the children receive. They are even mentioned in the father’s will as one of the heirs. But all the time they say to themselves and to others, “I do not know whether I really belong to this family or not. Maybe I don’t.” The parents of such a child would have reason to be angry with that child.
The Holy Spirit works assurance in the hearts of the people of God. He works such assurance by the Scriptures themselves when he works faith in our hearts to believe the Scriptures. He works that assurance that we are the children of God when we are surrounded by the tokens of God’s love, and his love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are assured of our membership in the family of God when the Spirit testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. And if we are children, then we are also heirs of salvation and the blessedness of heaven in Father’s house when we die.
And so we say with our teacher: “He is also given me, to make me partaker of Christ. He comforts me and he abides with me forever.” Even in heaven we will still have the Holy Spirit in us.
Originally posted here.